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Mitch Klie named captain of Sugar Kings

With just over a week before training camp opens on August 23, the Elmira Sugar Kings announced Wednesday that the club’s new captain will be forward Mitch Klie.
“I think it is a good choice, we had a lot of talk about it with Paul Jennings, myself and the coaching staff, and we leave it up to the coaches and I think they made a great choice,” said Keith Stewart, director of hockey operations. “Mitch is not only a good hockey player, but he’s a good kid and a good leader. He leads by example.”
General manager Paul Jennings said Klie understands the importance of such leadership.
“I think what he brings is the trademark of our hockey club: hard work. He works hard, he is a very responsible young man and he understands the responsibility that comes with playing here. … He’s a quiet leader. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but he leads by how hard he works.”
Klie, brought in from the St. Thomas Stars during the 2013-14 campaign, scored 11 goals and 18 assists in 37 games last season. He also notched a goal and six assists during the playoffs.
“He’s one of those kids who is probably better in the defensive zone than the offensive zone because he’ll do anything to win,” Stewart explained. “He’ll block shots and take a hit to make a pass; all the little things you need to do to win, he is one of those guys that’ll do it. I think he commands a lot of respect in the dressing room from the other players just by the style that he plays.
He takes over the captaincy from Cass Frey, who graduated from the program after the Kings were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Waterloo Siskins last March.
“Cass was the ultimate leader,” Stewart said. “Not a big guy in stature, but he had a huge heart and he wore it on his sleeve. Cass Frey came every game to play. Those will be tough shoes to fill for Klie, but we have the confidence that he can be just as good a leader as Cass Frey was.”
Klie says he learned a lot from his predecessor, and is excited to take on the new role.
“We’re eager for training camp to start next week,” he said. “It’s going to be a great season; we have a really good group of guys.”
The dressing room is full of leaders, Jennings said, including returning assistant captains Brodie Whitehead and Rob Kohli.
“We have a lot of players who are outstanding leaders on and off the ice. We think work ethic rubs off on everybody, so when you get guys who work hard, then the next guy is going to work hard too.”
It’s not all about wearing a letter on your sweater, he added.
“We call it ‘leaders without letters.’ We are expecting everybody to be pulling on the same rope, and that comes from having a group of quality character guys.”

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